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Green Chimney’s Conference

Posted on: April 25th, 2019

In April, our Zoology staff members attended the 15th Triennial IAHAIO Conference at the Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys. This year’s conference theme was “Science Meets Practice: Creating Healthy Environments for People and Animals.” For 3 days, we heard great talks on the human-animal bond, welfare, green care, and the successes of other animal organizations. Additionally, we were able to present a poster on the preliminary data of our humane education research taking place with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection and Humane Education Coalition (find out more about that survey here).

IAHAIO is the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations. It is the “global association of organizations that engage in practice, research and/or education in animal assisted activity, animal assisted therapy, and service animal training.” While their conferences usually take place in hotels or conference centers around the globe, this year IAHAIO stepped out of the box and hosted at a working, therapeutic and residential farm and wildlife center. Green Chimneys is known for their model of human-animal interaction in a therapeutic context for their students. They provide animal and nature-based therapy for the over 200 students onsite. If you are ever in the Brewster, NY area, we recommend checking them out! Like ZoFo, they also host special events and camps at their farm.

Although in the past Zoology has not provided therapy, 2019 marks new beginnings. We are currently in the test phase of a new program where local clinicians could bring their clients to the sanctuary for therapy sessions. The research on the benefit of animals involved in therapy for a variety of clients is vast. The ability for a person to connect first with an animal without feelings of judgement from that being is a powerful tool. Additionally, many of us are familiar with the positive feelings we get just being in the presence of an animal or out in nature. With the location and amazing animals located at our sanctuary, there is great potential for a successful therapy program. ZoFo is excited to see where this new program will lead.

Overall, we had a great time visiting another farm that believes in the power of the human-animal bond. We are thankful to have been a part of this great event!

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